Callum Smith is set to return and defend his WBA super middleweight title on June 1, when he’ll be part of the Joshua-Miller undercard at Madison Square Garden. And Gilberto Ramirez, who is fighting at light heavyweight on Friday night in Los Angeles, still has the WBO 168-pound belt, and a return to the division isn’t totally off the table.
One fight that might entice Ramirez to return to super middleweight is a unification with Smith, a fight that Top Rank promoter Bob Arum says is possible, although he certainly has his own take on things and is only speaking from his side.
Arum says that he would be willing to send Ramirez (39-0, 25 KO) to the United Kingdom, possibly London’s O2 Arena, so that the fight could air on Sky Box Office (pay-per-view) in the U.K., which is where the matchup is worth the most money.
However, Arum would also want the U.S. broadcast rights for his ESPN deal, and that’s where things could hit a snag. Honestly, it all sounds fair enough on paper, from the outside — Smith gets home field, it’s a pay-per-view over there, and Ramirez’s side gets the Stateside broadcast. But that doesn’t mean it’s a deal that Eddie Hearn and Matchroom, who are of course aligned with DAZN as their U.S. outlet, will actually take.
That said, Arum may have a little leverage here, as it’s one of the few really big possible fights for the 28-year-old Smith (25-0, 18 KO), who is seen as the No. 1 fighter in the division thanks to winning the World Boxing Super Series tournament. And again, on paper, the idea he proposes seems fair.
The division isn’t exactly super loaded, and most of the more interesting fighters are scattered — Smith with DAZN, Ramirez with ESPN, David Benavidez and Caleb Plant and Anthony Dirrell with PBC. I mean, there’s a reason Ramirez is dipping his toe in the water at 175 against Tommy Karpency on the Lomachenko-Crolla card, which airs on ESPN+ on Friday night. There are just more good fights potentially available for him at that weight.
The wild card in the division is Chris Eubank Jr, who is officially aligned with none of the major players. His last fight with James DeGale aired on Showtime in the States, and ITV Box Office in the United Kingdom. If it could be made, Smith-Eubank is a bigger UK fight than Smith-Ramirez, for what it’s worth. Eubank hasn’t worked with Hearn and Matchroom since 2016, but he has worked with them for multiple fights in the past.
Anyway, we’ll see. In my view, it’s best to assume these cross-promotional fights won’t happen, no matter the talk, until there’s news that terms have been reached. That way you don’t get your hopes up for something good to actually happen.